I just saw the movie Argo last night on a date night with my hubby (The Squire). First of all, I can wholeheartedly recommend this film. The film has Ben Affleck starring, directing and producing and he did a great job. If you don't know the story behind Argo, then I will fill you in.
|Bryan Cranston and Ben Affleck as CIA agents|
Back in 1979/80, Iranian students and militants took over the American Embassy in Tehran in support of the Iranian Revolution and in protest of Americans harboring the deposed Shah. A few Americans in the Embassy escaped out the back door, but most were caught and returned to the Embassy as hostages except for six, who found refuge at the nearby Canadian and Swiss Embassies in Tehran. Canadian Ambassador Ken Taylor collected and hid the six Americans without alerting authorities in Iran for 3 months before smuggling them out with the help of the CIA and a harebrained scheme to have the six pose as a Canadian film crew scouting locations for a cheesy sci-fi movie. Seriously. And the "real story" wasn't revealed until the Clinton era when the CIA files were declassified.
|John Goodman, Alan Arkin and Ben Affleck in Argo|
This is a very well made film which is great for an evening's entertainment. Ben Affleck will be looking for some Oscar nods for this film and I think he really deserves some recognition for his film making skills here. He also did a great job of giving a little history lesson on Iran/US relations at the beginning of the film which help those of us not up on our Middle Eastern history and showing why Iran and it's people were justifiably angry at, and distrustful of Americans at the time.
|Victor Garber as Ken Taylor, the Canadian ambassador|
The story is rather embellished with tense and exciting scenes for entertainment value, so don't take it as a documentary on the events. "Based on true events" is the disclaimer at the beginning of the film. And I have to admit that I was snickering at the last 10 minutes or so of Hollywood action film ending. Yet I understand why the real events, dangerous and frightening as they invariably were would not make for a good film ending. I enjoyed it all the same. And you have to stay for the last scenes after most of the credits have rolled. There is a final bit of info at the end in Jimmy Carter's own voice which you won't want to miss.
The other 52 hostages were eventually released after 444 days of captivity on the day of Ronald Reagan's inauguration, Jimmy Carter's last day in office.
I have to admit that I am feeling my age when I go and see a period drama which depicts events during my lifetime which I remember quite vividly. I am just glad that this film was done so well. Kudos to Affleck!
I felt very proud as a Canadian that other countries were unwilling to help these six Americans, but our Ambassador and our government were so willing to help. This was downplayed in the film, but understandably as the film is based on the account by CIA agent Tony Mendez (played by Affleck).